I got into the taxi after a wonderful week in Curitiba. I was there attending a conference on Evangelism with Reinhard Bonnke. He and his team have won over 75 million people for Christ, and what they had to share was nothing short of life-transforming. Leaving there, I knew I would never be the same. I started chatting with the taxi driver, telling him about the week. I began to share Christ with him as I have with so many other people. But this time was different — instead of witnessing in my own strength, fumbling for words and thinking of how to say things, I shared with a boldness and life that came from deep inside. I could feel the Holy Spirit attracting the taxi driver. In just 15 minutes, all of his hindrances, fears and unbelief came falling down and when we arrived at the airport, he gave his life to Christ! I don’t know who was more excited — him or me! I got his name and number and passed it along to a local pastor, making sure he’d get good follow-up.
Even though I was checking in to fly, I was already on Cloud 9. I got on my plane and sat next to a young lady and started up a conversation. She really didn’t want to talk, so I left it alone. But something interesting began to happen. I felt the same sensation I had felt with the taxi driver! All of a sudden, she took out her earphones and struck up a conversation with me. She’s a chemical engineer that works with an American company in São Paulo. She travels for business. Married with no children. Husband’s an engineer as well. I began to share God’s love with her, telling her about Jesus. She said I was the second person to share Jesus with her that week, and I said “It’s because Jesus wants you!” With tears in her eyes, she opened her heart to Jesus and gave her life to the Lord, 30,000 feet in the air.
The next day, after sharing about my trip in our cell group, one of the youth was quite touched and gave his life to the Lord then and there! On Sunday, he went forward in church to make his public decision — one of 100-120 people that do so each week in our church. Then on Monday I shared with my worship team at our weekly meeting (around 300 people), and at the end there was a huge response of people coming forward to receive the same outpouring of God’s love that we had experienced in Curitiba.
From one-on-one situations to large stadium events, life here in Brazil have been nothing short of supernatural. On the weekend of July 5-7, we held our annual Congresso da Paz. We packed out the soccer stadium for three marvelous nights of ministry. It was so full that many people were locked outside the stadium, forced to watch the event on temporary screens. Six-hundred and eighty-five people experienced the greatest miracle of them all: salvation. Besides that, several hundreds of people experienced healings. Deaf people heard for the first time. Blind people saw for the first time. Lumps and tumors disappeared, bad arms and legs returned to normal use. Bad backs were healed! It was tremendous! One lady gave testimony that she was healed during the praise and worship that our team ministered the very first night! How cool is that?!
The Next Step
In all of our prayers about our next stage in life, we have asked for clarity in the decision about Japan. Our leadership believes it’s right. So many of you have responded so positively and encouraged us as well. We also believe it’s the right thing to do, but we wanted confirmation and conviction deep inside.
On the last night of the Congresso, I felt like we were to give up our spot to lead worship and let another group do it. It was not an easy thing to do, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Even as I struggled with doubts if I had made the right decision, my prayer was that God’s presence would be especially strong, drawing people unto Him. And that’s exactly what happened. Whether I’m ministering or just behind the scenes, my heart is that people can come to Christ and grow in Him. I believe that’s your heart as well, and that’s why you support us. Behind the scenes, you’re there praying, loving, supporting. We will share the same rewards in Heaven!!
At the end of worship time, we were asked to pray for the person next to us. I (on stage), prayed with the keyboardist of the other worship team. When he began to pray for me, he went stiff, opened his eyes wide, and said “Nate, you won’t believe what I just saw! I saw you, and you were going all over the world! You were ministering to so many people, feeding them bread. You were being used by God! You think you’re going to start something small, but you have no idea how big it will become!” I was in awe.
As soon as I arrived at the conference in Curitiba, I had barely got in line for lunch when someone came up to me. He said “You probably don’t remember me, but I was at the conference in Santarém last year. I saw you ministering on stage, and God put you on my heart and I wanted to start supporting you. But I didn’t have the courage to tell you that afterwards Then in the last couple of days, you’ve come back into mind. But I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again, and then here you are, right in front of me!” It was confirmation that God will provide for the all the extra support we will need to raise for Japan.
This time is different than when we came to Brazil — I remember hearing directly from God on that one, and I really needed that to take that big leap of faith. I thought, perhaps, it would be the same way with Japan. But in these and several other ways that would take too long to mention, we feel like God has confirmed that this is the time of harvest in Japan and that we are to be part of the team that goes there. It hasn’t been a direct voice from heaven, but a peace that this is the right move at the right time. We ask that you pray for us — the transition and the details, extra support and grace we will need for this new stage in life.